Known as the second most consumed beverage in the world, coffee occupies an important place in the world economy. Even the Philippines, as one of the exporting countries of coffee, have an existing production area of 123,269 hectares that produced a volume of 97,428 metric tons (MT).

Coffee grows in 70 countries, 60 of which are exporters. It has four varieties namely Arabica, Robusta, Liberica and Excelsa. Arabica, also known as 'Kapeng Tagalog' bears clean dry coffee beans in two to three years from planting, which is the earliest compared to the other varieties. While Robusta yield the highest volume of clean dry coffee beans. Excelsa , on the other hand, is resistant to drought unlike Liberica 'Kapeng Barako' can tolerate and grow in wider soil types.
(Source: Department of Agriculture – High Value Crops Program, Date accessed 24 March 2014)

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Cultural Management

Starting-up Need


The minimum soil depth for a coffee propagation is 15 centimeters. The soil must be highly fertile with medium texture and high moisture holding capacity. The optimum soil pH must be 5.5 to 6.5 and a temperature of 21 to 26 degrees Celsius.

Material Inputs:

A farmer must have the following in order to start a coffee plantation: coffee seeds, granular and foliar fertilizers, insecticides, and fungicides.

Labor Inputs:

Laborers are necessary for the establishment and maintenance of a coffee farm. Clearing, seed bed preparation, seed sowing and lay-outing are some of the tasks performed in establishing a plantation.
On the other hand, in maintaining the coffee farm, the laborers will be applying fertilizer, spraying chemicals, and weeding.

Seed Preparation

  • Gather seeds from disease and pest-free, high yielding trees;
  • Grow coffee plants in the nursery to produce better seedlings. They nursery be located in the plantation or nearby and accessible to water supply;
  • Three-fourth kg (i.e. 750 gm) of quality seeds is enough to plant a hectare;
  • A 50% allowance of seeds must be considered for un germinated seeds, poor seedlings and for replanting;
  • Select viable seeds, stir berries in a bucket of water and remove floaters. Those that sink are the good ones;
  • Remove pulp by hand or pulping machine, then soak beans in water for 24 hours to hasten the removal of mucilage;
  • Wash beans and discard floaters. Air dry in well-ventilated room for least 4 days;
  • Keep dried parchment in cool dry place or mix with charcoal to preserve its viability;
  • Germination bed must be 1 meter wide and of convenient length. To avoid flooding, raise bed 15 cm from ground level;
  • A 1 x 20 m plot can accommodate one ganta of seeds;
  • Sow seeds on shallow rows at ¾ inch deep and cover with fine soil;
  • Water the seedbed regularly but not too wet and partially shade plants from sunlight;
  • This out and prick seedlings (transplant to another seedbed/plastic bags) or when 2-3 pairs of leaves have developed.

Asexual Propagation

  • Coffee can also be propagated asexually.
  • Clone is used for coffee propagation. It is a part of a plant that is made to reproduce an offspring which carries all the qualities of its parents.
  • Split lengthwise into two halves of a finger sized vertical shoot of about one foot long with 4-6 nodes to produce a clone. Partially cut leaves before splitting;
  • Set modal cutting in germination box 1x2 inches apart and 1 inch deep, then place boxes in germination chamber. Nodal cuttings will produce roots and shoots within 45 days;
  • Prick seedlings into individual plastic bags with soil. Full-grown seedling with 4-6 pairs of leaves could be attained within 6-8 months;
  • Coffee plants raised from nodal cuttings bear fruits 18 months after transplanting

Crop Establishment

Intensive clearing is necessary for newly opened areas (forest area). Plow and harrow twice open field to check weed growth. Mark places where holes are to be dug. Recommended spacing are as follows:

Variety Distance in meters
  Single Row Double Row
Arabica 3x1 to 3x2 m 2x2x2x4m double row
Robusts 3x1.5 to 3x3 m 2x2x2x4m double row
Liberica & Excelsa 4x5 to 5x5.5 m  



Coffee seedlings are ready for transplant when 6 pairs of leaves have been fully developed and with no lateral branches yet. Dig holes and transplant in the field at the start of the rainy season. This will give sufficient time for young plants to establish roots before dry season sets in. Dig hole wide and deep enough to accommodate ball of earth with roots intact. Return topsoil in the hole, then add tablespoons phosphorous fertilizer, and mix thoroughly.


Removal of unnecessary branches (excess, old and dead branches) and undesirable sprouts. Pruning regulates the height of the plants, facilitates harvesting and other field operations, promotes better aeration and light penetration. This is best done before general flowering or after harvest.

Nutrient Management

The general recommendation for non-bearing trees in the absence of soil and tissue analysis, is an equal amount of NPK and ammonium sulfate or urea from 250-300 grams per tree per year; and for bearing trees (7 years and above) 1 kilo of 14-14 per tree per year plus urea sidedness at the rate of 300 grams per tree per year.

Non-bearing trees (1-3 years old) make shallow canal furrow 5 cm deep around the plant; place recommended fertilizer in continuous band and cover with soil.

Bearing trees (7 years old)-localized placement is recommended for sloping land. Apply fertilizer in holes or trenches made around trees between outside of the crown and one-half meter from the base. Broadcast fertilizer 0.5m for level land.

Pest and Disease Management

Common Pests and Control

Coffee Berry Borer most destructive and hardest to control. Attacks all stages of fruit after berries become mungo-size. Infested young berries turn from normal green color to yellow orange and shortly afterwards, fruit falls prematurely. Presence of empty or partially filled fruits underneath tree is a sure sign of infestation.

Coffee Leaf folder larvae feed on leaves and sometime attack flowers and fruits. Adult is a small moth with light brown forewings. The eggs are laid in clusters on leaves. Development period is 5-6 weeks.

Control: Collect and destroy infested berries before and after harvest. Pick up all berries, including those that fall on the ground, to eliminate breeding and feeding sites of insects. Spray Endosulfan at recommended rates at 14 to 21 days interval or 4 to 5 times spraying during fruiting season. The first spraying should be done when the berries attain the size of a mungbean

Common Diseases and Control

Coffee Rust the most prevalent and destructive disease of coffee, Small, yellowish spots appear on lower surface of leaves; as spots enlarge, powdery yellow to orange spores are produced. Affected leaves drop and tree may die. To prevent, use resistant strains, spray susceptible varieties with copper fungicides at 2-3 week intervals at start of heavy rains.

Die-Back is characterized by drying of branches and twigs from to and downwards. Appearance of spots with concentric lines on both surfaces of seedlings, twigs, and berries. If severe affected, leaves fall, twig and branches dry. To control, maintain vigor of trees by fertilizing with the right kind and amount of nutrients at proper time; regulate plant growth to prevent overbearing by pruning and/or shade

Harvest Management

Maturity of berries is 6 to 8 months after blooming but varies on the environmental factors from region to region. In Mindanao, Arabica flower in January to May and berries are harvested in August to December. In Luzon, coffee trees bloom just after the first heavy rains in May and June, Arabica and Robusta berries are harvested in late December to March; Excelsa and Liberica later.

Individually pick berries (i.e priming) to avoid presence of pedicels. For quality beans, harvest only matured berries (i.e. berries turn red from its ground color.)

Source: Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agricultural Research, Date accessed 24 March 2014